Like Magic

CheneyMental Health, On Writing2 Comments

I went out to dinner last night with a friend, D., and told him about my recent foray into the mental health system. Told him that I did not going in there expecting to be fixed, but that I went in there begging to be fixed, to be thrown a rope in a choppy ocean, something, anything to bring me back to the surface so I could start finding myself.

I teared up telling him about the whys, but the tears did not fall and I am thankful for that as I hate crying in front of people, and especially in public. I told him about my anxiety manifests – my imagination getting away with me, and how I become truly afraid of things that are not real. It makes me sound crazy, I admit, which is another reason I sought help – to prove to myself that I am not crazy, not really.

He was asking whether he thought therapy would be helpful for him, to work through his trust issues.

I feel broken, he said, and I nodded in agreement. Me too, buddy.

So I told him that after weeks of talk therapy we were still talking about my mother, my family – where I came from and how I have felt for a long time that I did not fit within them and still have not found my place, and if you cannot find your place within your own bloodlines, where can you go from there?

You would be surprised, I told him, what the root of your problems may be.

He looked away, up at the ceiling. I had never seen his face so fragile, and I wanted to reach over the table and touch him, and tell him that he will find something or someone, eventually, worth putting himself back together for.


There were a few days this month when I did not think I would finish my novel in time. I went days without writing a word, feeling sick over the thought of it – that spiral that I am sure many other writers get into, when they know they are behind, and the number of words they are behind on their goal seems daunting to finish and so they do not look at their novel, embarrassed to have neglected it.

I wrote over 8,000 words in one night, which is the most I have ever written in a single sitting in my life and it took under four hours. Last night I wrote over 5,000 more and I am officially caught up with NaNoWriMo – winning is in my sights and even more so, in my grasp. I can do it. I can do it.


Last year I failed NaNoWriMo because, I tell myself, I plotted the entire thing out. I knew from the very beginning how the story would end and all of the high and low points between.

I was bored with the writing, bored of the characters and doubtful of the story.

I gave up before 30,000 words, and felt terrible about it, though I learned my lesson.

I am not a plotter.


This time it’s like magic.

I know most of it is crap, terrible crap, it’s all crap – but inside of the crap there is an actual story that I am telling, and therein lies the magic.

When I sit down to write this month I do not know where I am going. I am carried along on a journey with my characters, I am driven by a force I cannot see or put a name to.

I show up, and the words come, and it is as simple and as beautiful as that.

2 Comments on “Like Magic”

  1. I was so struck by these words – but inside of the crap there is an actual story that I am telling, and therein lies the magic. Yes indeed – it is that knowledge that keeps us going!

  2. It’s amazing how different writers write. My finished novella is complete at ~24k words, and it took me a year from start to end. And that 24k is the longest it’s ever been! I’ve been working on my novel for less than 6 months, I believe, and am already past the 27k word mark and going strong. I totally pantsed the novella, and had to go back and rewrite a ton of it several times. This current novel WIP was my first foray into outlining and pre-planning, and I’m finding it so much easier!

Feel like sharing some thoughts?